Our Pet Column

Published weekly and read widely in The Watch, Telluride Daily Planet and Telluride Inside…and Out as well as this website the Pet Column offers insights from the Second Chance’s pet of the week on a variety of topics.

The American Shelter Dog – the new breed in town…

The American Shelter Dog – the new breed in town…

What puts a skip in the step of Second Chance staff?  What makes the world seem a kinder more caring place at 177 County Rd 10 (the home Second Chance’s Animal Resource Center)?  What put a sparkle in the eye of a Second Chance volunteer?  You guessed it – adoptions!  Adopting abandoned, neglected homeless pets into open armed loving families are what we all plan for, prepare for, wait for, and celebrate with unbridled joy and vigor here at Second Chance.  So why can’t they occur more often?  They need to.  Maybe they can – we have hatched a plan…

We heard about this idea through a humane society in Costa Rica.   So what does a small southwestern region of Colorado and Costa Rica have in common?  Not a lot – but we do share this – the majority of pets that wind up at shelters are mixed breeds.  Not surprisingly, mixed breeds are considered “less valuable” than pure breed dogs, I mean if you are not pure that pretty much leaves you impure and who wants impure when you can have pure right?

So, you may not be able to make the concept of impure something of value but the key is to change how we are perceived and valued which will logically increase the demand for us.  Well, rather than being viewed as impure what about unique?!?!  And mutts are indeed unique, just look at us – you couldn’t recreate one mutt to look like another if you tried!.  

Once determining that mixed breeds are indeed unique the next logical step is to highlight this uniqueness with a unique name to define the new breed.  By systematically deciphering some of a “mixed breed’s” heritage, based upon qualities specific to a particular “pure” breed, such as size, markings, ear, face, etc. length and shape, type of tail, etc. and matching that with some of the unique details in each dog a new breed is born – a new breed only available at your local shelter…

Now gone (and good riddance!) are the days where shelter staff had to guess within a small limited framework, “well he looks like a Lab/Terrier cross” or, “well…she looks like a Lab/Pit cross”…  This only made “mixed breeds” a reduced part of a “whole” breed that people thought they were seeking out.  But now we have all become something unique and whole and desirable.  Take my friend Waggin’ for example, he used to be described as “Terrier mix” due to his wire-haired, brown coated, shaggy,  floppy eared, scraggly tailed with long legs appearance – but now he is a highly desirable and adoptable Long Legged Pond Terrier!  

Or there is my friend Kenai, he used to be referred to as a brindle colored pit mix (yawn) but that was before his true breed was unveiled - a Catahoula Tiger Dog!  And Lilly who is about as unique looking as they come is actually of the Spotted BoxingSpringer breed.  Among others we also have a Smooth Coated Australian ShepStafford and me, Sonny, a Long Nosed Shephound up for adoption here at Second Chance!  So don’t miss out – adopt your one of a kind breed today!

PS – this worked so well in Costa Rica that within 45 days adoptions increased by 1,400% …just imagine…

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties.  Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs.  View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.

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Second Chance Humane Society


(970) 626-2273 | phone
(970) 626-3233 | Ridgway thrift
(970) 728-1100 | Telluride thrift


PO Box 2096 [mailing]
177 County Road 10
Ridgway, CO 81432

Shelter Hours

Animal Resource Center 11 am - 6 pm
Cat Castle 11 am - 6 pm
Dog Den 11 am - 5:45 pm